Using social media to break the news: College of the Holy Spirit Manila to close its doors

Published November 23, 2020, 1:08 PM

by Art Samaniego

Yes, it’s true, the 107-year old institution is closing its doors in 2022, citing difficulties in attracting new students and operational challenges brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

The College of the Holy Spirit Manila (CHSM) in its official Twitter and Facebook accounts dated November 22 informed the public via an official statement that the “College of the Holy Spirit Manila will voluntarily cease operations at the end of the Academic Year 2021-2022.”

The official statement of the College of the Holy Spirit Manila posted on its Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Social media has changed the way news breaks. While a few years ago, news such as this is first broken via a TV news report, radio announcement, or thru a print ad, now, social media has become a go-to venue for institutions, companies, and even individuals who would want to get a wider audience for information they want to disseminate. With more than 76 million active social media users or roughly about 71% of the country’s population, there is a good reason why many use this venue for important announcements.

In a survey conducted by Pew Research in 2018; Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter are the top three social media sites where US adults get their news from. In the Philippines, one in five adult Filipinos uses Facebook daily as a source of news according to the survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS) in 2019.

The problem is what you see on your FB wall depends on the posts that you liked, the contents that you blocked, and the friends that you regularly engaged with. Facebook, the number one source of news online by many Filipinos, has become the editor that decides what we see, its algorithm dictates, and would show us what is relevant.

While in 2010, around 35% of your friends and followers could see your post, today, it is said that only between 2 to 5 percent could see it. You could increase that though if you pay FB (FB’s algorithm is top secret so nobody really understands it).

Our biases, amplified by FB’s algorithm dictate what we see.

There is also the problem of “fake news” sources that compete for the attention of the users. Sensational headlines are shared more often by our friends than real and verified news making these stories appear in our feeds more.


Manila Bulletin reported this week that Sr. Carmelita Victoria of the Mission Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit, in a letter sent to the CHSM said that the 107-year old institution has faced challenges in the last 10 years which made it difficult to attract new students and ramp up enrollment to make the school viable.

“Private education has faced an increasingly challenging environment resulting from government policies on K-12; free tuition in state colleges and universities, local universities and college, and state-run technical and vocational institutions; and the significant increase in public school teachers’ salaries compared to their private school counterparts,” the letter read.

The COVID-19 pandemic, CHSM added also heightened the challenges, which compelled the institution to close after the academic year 2021-2022.

“The reduction or loss in family income, mobility restrictions and social distancing requirements, and the new demands of distance learning have adversely affected enrollment, not only in CHSM but in most private schools,” it said.